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Rick Millet catches air in a Timberline slopestyle event.

The Mt. Hood Series is back in action this winter, with 14 competitions at Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows.

It's all part of the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association, which is celebrating its 25th year.  Competitors match skills, speed and style in slopestyle, rail jam, halfpipe, banked slalom, and boarder/skier cross contests.  They earn points on a national ranking system, and if they do well enough they can qualify for the nationals at Copper Mountain in Colorado in April. 

Windells Camp sponsors the Mt. Hood Series and organizes events. Tom “Wally” Inouye, a former pro skateboarder who recently became Head Chef at Windells, serves as Hood Series Director.

In just six years Mt. Hood riders have become major players in USASA competition. Here is the team that represented Mount Hood and Windell’s at nationals last year:

Halfpipe:
Sean FitzSimons, Max Jones, Ravi Umesh, Wyatt Foleym, Rick Millet, Autumn Inouye, Tucker FitzSimons, Karter Ferrin, Erin Mayer, Maya Barnard-Davidson

Slopestyle:
Cole Welter, Sierra Jewett, River Rudhe, Benjamin Swendson, Brant Campanian, Niccolo Nolfi, Nash Lisac, William Reuland, Maya Barnard-Davidson, Sean Neary, Autumn Inouye

Rail Jam:
Rick Millet, Katie Polese, Brandon Pitzer, Trey Roeseler, Wyatt Duce, Tucker FitzSimons, Hannah Bergemann, Sean FitzSimons, Max Jones, Sean Neary, Sierra Jewett

The USASA Mt. Hood Series has been open to skiers as well as snowboarders for a number of years now, as part of the same trend that compelled the United States of America Snowboarding Association to add “and Freeski” to its name.

High school freeskiers began competing in the Mt. Hood Series a couple of years ago, and the popularity of high school freestyle skiing has grown rapidly. High school snowboarders compete separately, under the umbrella of the Oregon Interscholastic Snowboarding Association.

Any skier or snowboarder who signs up to join USASA can compete. You can register online here.

Inouye says the youngest competitor in a Mt. Hood Series event so far was three years old, while the oldest was 58.

The snowboard age categories are Ruggies (7 and under) Grommets (8-9), Menehunes (10-11), Breakers (12-13), Youth (14-15), Juniors (16-17), Jams (18-22), Seniors (23-29), Masters (30-39), Legends (40-49), Kahunas (50-59), Methuselahs (60 & over), Open Class (No age limit, Pro Class) and Adaptive (Individuals with permanent physical disabilities).

The entry fee is $25. Ruggies, Grommets and skiers nine and under compete for free, and all rail jams are also free.

Helmets are required, and all competitors must sign a concussion policy form. Mount Hood resorts do not recommend inverted aerials, but the USASA does allow them, and they are certainly not uncommon in the terrain parks.

Here is the 2013-14 Mt. Hood Series Schedule:

  1. December 14 at Meadows:  Slopestyle #1
  2. December 21 at Meadows: Rail Jam #1
  3. January 12 at Timberline: Slopestyle #2
  4. January 18 at Meadows: Rail Jam #2
  5. January 19 at Meadows: Slopestyle #3
  6. January 20 at Meadows: Halfpipe #1
  7. February 8 at Meadows: Rail Jam #3
  8. February 9 at Meadows: Halfpipe #2
  9. February 9 at Meadows: Halfpipe #3
  10. February 16 at Meadows: Banked Slalom #1
  11. February 16 at Meadows: Boarder/Skier Cross #1
  12. February 17 at Meadows: Banked Slalom #2
  13. February 17 at Meadows: Boarder/Skier Cross #2
  14. February 23 at Timberline: Slopestyle #4